The Professors’ Big Stage — op-ed from the New York Times by Thomas Friedman


I just spent the last two days at a great conference convened by M.I.T. and Harvard on “Online Learning and the Future of Residential Education” — a k a “How can colleges charge $50,000 a year if my kid can learn it all free from massive open online courses?”

The education of corporate America  — from by Brian Mitchell

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

The first step in the negotiated settlement may be for America’s business leadership to hold out the olive branch by word and action. So many of them sit on college boards of trustees and advisory councils that business leaders should be perfectly positioned to seek common ground. Many of them already live in both worlds. They now need to connect the dots.

These business leaders can speak not only to the number of engineers needed but also the types of skills needed to attract successful engineers. To meet their workforce needs, America’s business leadership should be the most articulate about the value of the education that they received, whether at public or independent colleges and universities. After all, business leaders are where they are today in large part because of what they learned and who they became in their formative years in college.

If there is to be a new American education agenda, America’s business leadership must step forward to work with higher education to prepare a well-educated workforce. Its foundation is the liberal arts. Its pathway is access to higher education. And its future will determine where the American economy — and American society — will stand by the middle of the 21st century.



Calvin College: The January Series
Presentations begin 12:30 p.m. EST (11:30 a.m. CST, 10:30 a.m. MST, 9:30 a.m. PST)
NOTE: Due to contractual restrictions, a few of these presentations will not be recorded or archived.

More details here, but a listing of the speakers/topics include:

Thursday, January 3
Jeremy Courtney – “Restoring Hearts in Iraq”

Friday, January 4
Sheryl WuDunn – “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide”

Monday, January 7
Roberta Green Ahmanson – “Dreams Become Reality: Inspiration through the Arts”

Tuesday, January 8
Jenny Yang – “Welcoming the Stranger: Justice, Compassion and Truth in the Immigration Debate”

Wednesday, January 9
Richard J. Mouw & Robert Millet – “Evangelicals and Mormons: A Conversation and Dialogue”

Thursday, January 10
Peter Diamandis – “Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think”

Friday, January 11
Captain Scotty Smiley – “Hope Unseen”

Monday, January 14
Jeff Van Duzer – “Why Business Matters to God”

Tuesday, January 15
Rebecca Skloot – “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”

Wednesday, January 16
Cokie Roberts – “An Insider’s View of Washington DC”

Thursday, January 17
W. Dwight Armstrong – “Feeding the World and the Future of Farming”

Friday, January 18
Garth Pauley – “Rituals of Democracy: Inaugural Addresses in American History”

Monday, January 21
Robert Robinson – “Celebration through Gospel Music” in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Tuesday, January 22
Mike Kim – “North Korea-China: A Modern Day Underground Railroad”

Wednesday, January 23
Chap Clark – “Sticky Faith”in partnership with the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship

The Service Patch — from The New York Times, OP-ED piece by David Brooks

Let’s put it differently. Many people today find it easy to use the vocabulary of entrepreneurialism, whether they are in business or social entrepreneurs. This is a utilitarian vocabulary. How can I serve the greatest number? How can I most productively apply my talents to the problems of the world? It’s about resource allocation.

People are less good at using the vocabulary of moral evaluation, which is less about what sort of career path you choose than what sort of person you are.

In whatever field you go into, you will face greed, frustration and failure. You may find your life challenged by depression, alcoholism, infidelity, your own stupidity and self-indulgence. So how should you structure your soul to prepare for this? Simply working at Amnesty International instead of McKinsey is not necessarily going to help you with these primal character tests.

Furthermore, how do you achieve excellence? Around what ultimate purpose should your life revolve? Are you capable of heroic self-sacrifice or is life just a series of achievement hoops? These, too, are not analytic questions about what to do. They require literary distinctions and moral evaluations.

When I read the Stanford discussion thread, I saw young people with deep moral yearnings. But they tended to convert moral questions into resource allocation questions; questions about how to be into questions about what to do.


Also see:

If you’re in college, or happen to be about to graduate, and you’ve been mocked for getting a liberal arts degree, here’s a piece of welcome news: You’re actually in more demand than those who are getting finance and accounting degrees. That’s one of the findings of a new survey of 225 employers issued today by Millennial Branding and Experience Inc.


From DSC:
My thanks to Mr. Will Katerberg, Dir. Mellema Program and Professor of History at Calvin College, for these resources


Steve Jobs has resigned as Apple CEO "effective immediately"


From DSC:
I want to post a thank you note to Mr. Steven P. Jobs, whom you most likely have heard has resigned as Apple’s CEO. Some articles are listed below, but I want to say thank you to Steve and to the employees of Apple who worked at Apple while he was CEO:

  • Thank you for working hard to enhance the world and to make positive impacts to our world!
  • Thank you for painstakingly pursuing perfection, usability, and excellence!
  • Thank you for getting back up on the horse again when you came out of a meeting with Steve, Tim and others and you just got reamed for an idea or implementation that wasn’t quite there yet.
  • Thanks go out to all of the families who were missing a dad or mom for long periods of time as they were still at work cranking out the next version of ____ or ____.
  • Thanks for modeling what a vocation looks like — i.e. pursuing your God-given gifts/calling/passions; and from my economics training for modeling that everyone wins when you do what you do best!

Thanks again all!



Key education issues dividing public, college presidents, study finds — from the WSJ by Kevin Helliker

The general public and university presidents disagree about the purpose of college, who ought to pay for it and whether today’s students are getting their money’s worth.

But university presidents and the average American agree that the cost of higher education now exceeds the reach of most people.

Those are broad findings from a pair of surveys released late Sunday from the nonprofit Pew Research Center. The surveys took place this March and April, one posing college-related questions to 2,142 American adults, the other to 1,055 presidents of colleges large, small, public, private and for-profit. The two surveys contained some identical questions and some peculiar to each group.

Excerpt of report:

As is the case with all Center reports, our research is not designed to promote any cause, ideology or policy proposal. Our only goal is to inform the public on important topics that shape their lives and their society.

Higher education is one such topic. The debate about its value and mission has been triggered not just by rising costs, but also by hard economic times; by changing demands on the nation’s workforce; by rising global competition; by growing pressures to reduce education funding; and by the ambitious goal set by President Obama for the United States to lead the world by 2020 in the share of young adults who have a college degree.


Is the Four-Year, Liberal-Arts Education Model Dead?


I went through a liberal arts degree in college (Economics) and I work for a Christian liberal arts college. As such, one can tell that I greatly endorse and believe in the benefits of a liberal arts education; such an education is extremely valuable and helpful, no matter which career path(s) a student may choose to pursue after college.

However, it has become clear that the costs of education are getting out of hand — and out of the reach of a growing number of people. Now with the Internet and alternative methods of delivery in the mix — and the current model continuing to show itself as being vulnerable and unsustainable for a growing number of people —  there is a potent equation for change in the air.

So…if you don’t believe we are in a game-changing environment, how do you explain this (increasingly-prevalent) line of questioning? (Though most of the articles I’ve seen do not use the word “dead”, the flavor/meaning of such articles and postings is much the same.)



Educause Quarterly -- 33, 3 -- Fall 2010

Digital Humanities – Why Now?

Digital Humanities–Why Now? — from NITLE

Why launch a digital humanities initiative now? Yesterday, when I introduced NITLE’s new initiative, I spent some time defining digital humanities and digital scholarship. Today, I’ll take a crack at the “why now” question, specifically for liberal arts colleges. (Tomorrow, I’ll explore why the digital humanities matter for liberal arts colleges and offer some ways for those at small liberal arts colleges to get involved and take action.)

Why now?

So, why should we look at the digital humanities now, especially on the small liberal arts college campus? To answer this question, first we must look at the larger context of higher education. The digital humanities have been moving through the academy.

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A discussion of higher education on the Diane Rhem show


Two professors examine the American higher education system and explain how students and parents can get the most for their money.

Andrew Hacker
Professor of Political Science at Queens College, New York, and co-author of “Higher Education? How Colleges Are Wasting Our Money and Failing Our Kids – And What We Can Do About It”

Mark Taylor
Chair of the Department of Religion at Columbia University, professor of philosophy of religion at Union Theological Seminary, and professor emeritus of humanities at Williams College. His latest book is titled, “Crisis on Campus: A Bold Plan for Reforming our Colleges and Universities.”


Recording of symposium re: the 2010 Horizon Report

In early April NITLE, the Boston Library Consortium (BLC), and the Northeast Regional Computing Program (NERCOMP) co-sponsored a symposium on the 2010 Horizon Report. Bryan Alexander, NITLE’s Director of Research, led more than 50 people through the 2010 Horizon Report (produced by the New Media Consortium, cosponsored by Educause, ELI). Participants reflected on and responded to trends and issues highlighted by the report as the most critical technologies currently emerging for the academy. We are pleased to share content from the Symposium on the NITLE website (, and invite you to listen to the audio recording.

Academia in crisis: Brian Hawkins addresses the NITLE Summit — NITLE

Brian L. Hawkins, co-founder of the Frye Institute and the first president of EDUCAUSE, gave an impassioned presentation “The Information Resource Professional: Transformation, Tradition & Trajectory” to an engaged group of conference participants at last week’s NITLE Summit. He didn’t mince words: along with institutions in all other sectors of higher education, it is urgent that liberal arts colleges invent a new future together, working in true collaboration. Today’s uniquely dire higher education fiscal environment is the driver. Institutional failures to respond energetically will result in the institution not surviving (emphasis DSC).

Hawkins based his argument both on astute observation of the current milieu and on comparisons with the trajectory of events and transformations he observed during his long and distinguished career of higher education leadership (emphasis DSC). Drawing on his experience in roles ranging from Senior Vice President at Brown University to EDUCAUSE leader, and returning to his many publications and presentations throughout that career, Hawkins delineated the current environment, painting an unsettling picture: (emphasis DSC — which I call a game-changing environment).

  • Public universities, once beneficiaries of state support, are increasingly competing for the same tuition and research dollars as private institution, and public funding will likely not return.
  • Private institutions are increasingly priced beyond the means of most American families.
  • Smaller colleges and universities are as vulnerable to environmental stresses as fish in small fish tanks.
  • The model of higher education that has obtained in the US for 130 years “is broken and no longer works.”
  • Because of the constrained fiscal environment we face as a nation, higher education has lost its traditional political supporters in state and federal government. Politically “we have no allies.”
  • Institutions are dysfunctional: resistant to change, slow to adapt, fraught with “special interests,” mistaken that they can return to an earlier time, and precluded by their own distinguished and complex histories from “starting over.”
  • The “new normal,” as delineated by Cornell president David Skorton in the opening plenary (PDF) at  NAICU’s annual meeting this part January, includes lost endowment income, weakened fund raising, smaller tuition increases, and more demands for financial aid, moving forward.
  • The global information environment has evolved far more quickly than have educational institutions.

…Hawkins further stressed the critical importance of genuinely transformative inter-institutional collaborations: “We have to stop thinking of collaboration as an avocational approach…… it is the only means of competitive survival.”

Why a Liberal Arts education can best prepare business leaders — by Ray Williams [original posting via BizDeansTalk]
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